Cottage Grove, OR — The DIRTcar Northwest I-5 Late Model Series launches its inaugural 2009 campaign with a huge weekend of racing in Oregon beginning Friday night at Cottage Grove Speedway followed by the two-day Memorial Classic at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore.
“We’re excited to kick off the Northwest tour, bringing the benefits of DIRTcar Racing to the area,” said DIRTcar West Region Director Chris Morgan. “We expect to have a solid field of Dirt Late Models this weekend and throughout the year as we continue to work on new opportunities with promoters and track operators.”
The stout field of racers will include two-time champion Rob Mayea, of Bend, Ore., and John Duty of Portland, Ore., who already has a win this season at Willamette Speedway.
“It’s real positive for our area that we can have a sanctioned series up in our neck of the woods,” said Duty, who picked up a victory May 9 at Willamette after coming off an arm injury. “It’s a good series, but with DIRTcar’s involvement there’s some merit behind it and some name recognition so we can get some more tracks. I’m really thrilled to see this come our way. I think we’ll have good car counts all three days this weekend.
“I think it’s a great deal and I think it’ll turn into something bigger and better as the years go by. We needed DIRTcar to expand it.”
Mayea is geared up to begin a shot at his third DIRTcar Northwest I-5 Late Model Series championship Friday night at Cottage Grove.
“I think having DIRTcar involved is a big bonus,” Mayea said. “It makes us feel like we’re part of the country as far as Dirt Late Model tour racing goes now that we’re affiliated with something that’s as professional as DIRTcar. … I’ve been lucky enough to win the championship a few times and finish second a few times. It’s neat to go traveling a little bit. We’re excited to get out and travel around a little bit. The series is very doable.”
One driver who definitely wishes he was able to race this weekend is three-time series champion Trevor Glaser of Tangent, Ore. A broken arm in the first race of the year at Willamette will keep him from racing until August, but with his success behind the wheel other competitors seek his advice. As a long-time competitor in the region, Glaser has a unique view on DIRTcar’s involvement with the Northwest I-5 Late Model Series as well as weekly racing in the Pacific Northwest.
“I think it’s really good,” Glaser said. “It’s been a long time coming to get organized and get a bigger picture racing-feel out here. Our racetracks are pretty spread out, at least up in Oregon. They’ve been working on it for 10 years, but getting a deal like this where we can get everybody working together has been a long time coming. It’s set up well. I’m pretty optimistic that it’ll keep getting bigger and bigger.”
“Dirt Late Model racing has always been strong at Willamette Speedway. Six or seven years ago, that was the only place that had a weekly late model show, but we had 50 cars. In the last 10 years, the race tracks have started racing a lot more Dirt Late Models in Oregon so it’s getting a lot bigger. The epicenter is still Willamette Speedway, but it’s getting bigger and there’s more competition. I think DIRTcar is coming in at the perfect time.”
Certainly it’s the perfect weekend to kick off the new DIRTcar Northwest I-5 Late Model Series. The action will no doubt be fierce Friday at Cottage Grove Speedway as well as Saturday and Sunday at Willamette Speedway.
Friday at Cottage Grove, the gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6:45 p.m. Check out www.cottagegrovespeedway.com for more information. On Saturday and Sunday for the Memorial Classic at Willamette Speedway, the spectator gates open at 2 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m. Go to www.trophymotorsports.com for more information.